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Media Navel Gaze: February 16, 2016

Mark Kollar  Follow

It seems more and more that US headlines either focus on the market (meh) or the debates (meta meh) and both got way volatile last week, with the Dow staging a big rally Friday to close still weak, down 1.4 percent for the week and down 8.3 percent for the year (usual suspects of global sluggishness and cheap oil). And on the stump front, Trump got real testy with Jeb making for good three-day-weekend TV watching and Hillary and Bernie got real smart and interesting actually debating big topics (thank you, we learned stuff).  Bright spot? We spent money on stuff, and retail sales edged up 0.2 percent in January and was revised by the same in December.  Go green!

Elsewhere:

  • In the most-important-stuff category:  The sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia received little immediate “memoriums” and instead succession fights of epic proportions erupted with calls from the Republicans to delay until after elections;
  • Way new stuff: Google is really getting into virtual reality with news that it is planning a standalone headset that does not need a phone or console to make it real and an advanced version of its $20 cardboard viewer that uses a smart phone;
  • Way kinda old stuff: Einstein was proven right once again when scientists said last week they heard two black holes colliding a billion light years away, part of that relativity stuff;
  • To Kill a Mockingbird is coming to Broadway, script by Aaron Sorkin; and
  • Burger King is adding hot dogs to its menus—Weiner King?

LatAm Gaze:

  • Pope Francis visited México this week and lobbied for improved justice, security, and a commitment to fighting corruption in the region.  The visit marks the first time the nation has hosted the head of the Vatican.
  • Chinese-issued debt to Latin American countries almost tripled in 2015 to U$29 billion.  Brazil surpassed Venezuela as China’s largest Latin American debtor, accounting for roughly one third of the total.
  • The Peruvian Central Bank raised its central interest rate by 25 basis points to 4.25%, citing high inflation driven by pricing in the food and electric energy sectors.  For the 12 months ended in January 2016, Perú reported inflation of 4.6%, well beyond its inflation target of between 1-3%. 

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